Today's walk was put on by the Heather's Hope foundation. Heather is the aunt of one of my friends, and Heather lost her life in 2008 in a tragic incidence of domestic violence. The family is doing amazing things in Heather's name to raise awareness.
|Me & Whit, Heather's neice|
|My walking partner DaisyJo and I :)|
I was honored to be able to hear our Sheriff, Grady Judd, give a speech today. He was already set to be the guest speaker, and then after the events of last week, where one of his "right hand ladies" at work was brutally killed in an act of domestic violence, this event hit even closer to home for him. It goes back to silent sufferers. He had NO clue his always smiling coworker was going through issues at home.
Grady Judd talked stats. He talked signs of abusive that we could all look for in our loved ones that may be silent sufferers and he gave examples of what women will do to protect the very one who IS abusing them. An example was last year, his team was called out to a house with a domestic complaint. They got there, talked to the female first, asked her if her husband had any guns, she said no, so they proceeded. As they went to enter, he came out aiming a gun at them, ready to fire. His team shot and killed the suspect. They asked the woman if he'd had the gun before, and she said yes this time. When asked why she didn't just tell them that he was armed, she claimed "I didn't want him to get in trouble"... Well, now he IS dead. The team would have approached the situation totally different had they known he was armed. While she was actually trying to protect him, it ended up getting him killed. This is just one example of what women go through to protect the very man who harms them.
I took a few pictures today that struck me.
Here are some shirts that others designed.
|a world torn upside down due to DV|
This sign says "Why women stay". Why doesn't she just leave?! It's the first question people ask. And here are some of the answers:
Hope: she hopes it will get better. maybe they can get help. maybe she will make him happy again. maybe it will just stop.
Shame: she is ashamed that it has came to this, that she allowed him to treat her this way. that she has taken him back so many times.
Money: she doesn't have enough money to start all over again. she has never been employed or does not make enough money to support herself and her children. shes scared to try to make it alone.
Fear: she is terrified. he has told her that she better never try to leave him. he says that he will find her no matter where she goes. he says he will take the kids and run. he says that he will track her down and kill her. she knows he means it.
On the Heather's Hope page they list these as increased danger signs or red flags:
- Abuse happens more often
- Abuse gets rougher
- There is a gun in the house
- Abuser uses drugs or alcohol
- Abuser threatens to kill self or others
- Abuser hurts or kills pets
- Abuser is jealous, suspicious, or possessive
- Abuser gets into fights with other people
and these as first steps to take:
- If leaving is not an option make a safety plan
- Call Police if you are being abused
- If it is safe, keep a journal of the abuse
- Attend a support group
- Call the state domestic violence hotline to discuss options : 1-800-500-1119 (this is for Florida)
- The NATIONAL hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE
I pray that if anyone reading this is currently involved in a DV situation that you would take time to sit back and really think about your situation and get the help that you need AND deserve. If it's a loved one suffering, just continue to be the best support that you can be. Always encourage them. Everyone deserves to live a happy life and be treated with unconditional love and respect.